All across the country, citizens are worried about the rising cost of health care and the government's growing control over our health care decisions.
Instead of giving the government more power, Senator Toomey believes the best way to lower health care costs is to empower patients and increase transparency within the health care system. One way to do that is to create greater equity among purchasers of health insurance. We can start by giving individuals who buy their own health insurance the same tax benefits that employers enjoy when they buy health insurance for their employees. This will make health insurance more affordable for millions of Americans who buy their own coverage.
Second, we should allow individuals and businesses to buy health insurance across state lines. Currently, the law prohibits a worker in Pennsylvania from buying a health insurance plan from another state. Changing this law will give individuals access to a large array of health care options and will lower costs by forcing health insurance companies to compete with one another.
Third, we can lower health care costs by enacting comprehensive tort reform. Excessive litigation forces doctors to pay higher premiums and to practice defensive medicine, resulting in unnecessary medical tests and costs.
Fourth, small businesses and groups should be permitted to join together to form association health plans to lower the cost of providing health care. We should also help facilitate a market for renewable health plans to ensure people with preexisting conditions are able to keep their health insurance.
Senator Toomey believes that the president's health care law is fundamentally wrong in its approach to improving our nation's health care system. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) imposes onerous new mandates and regulations that are having numerous unintended consequences. It's bad for patients, it's bad for doctors, and it's bad for our economy. Additionally, it threatens to put serious strains on our nation's long-term fiscal outlook.
Senator Toomey has also been a leader in working to eliminate the worst elements of the government-run health care law while strengthening Medicare, the federal program that seniors spent a lifetime paying into:
• Successfully pushed the Internal Revenue Service to clarify that volunteer firefighter departments, critical to the safety of so many Pennsylvania communities, would not be harmed by the health care law's disruptive employer mandate.
• Helped to eliminate the onerous tax information requirement which would have required all businesses to submit 1099 forms for every transaction valued at more than $600 a year.
• Worked with colleagues across the aisle to suspend the job-killing medical device tax.
• Seeking to restore relief for families and seniors with high medical bills.
• Fighting to protect the rights of conscience for consumers, doctors and employers.
• Supported legislation to ensure seniors maintained access to their doctors and improve Medicare's solvency.
• Authored bipartisan legislation to permit the disabled and senior citizens to stay in their own homes rather than having to move into an institution.
The American people deserve expanded access to the world's best health care. This can only be accomplished by reforming the system in ways that give more control to patients and doctors - not to the federal government.
In addition to his efforts to make health care more affordable and access, Sen. Toomey has also worked to protect Pennsylvania families and communities from the deadly epidemic of prescription painkiller and heroin abuse. He has supported the Comprehensive Addition and Recovery Act (CARA), which promotes treatment over incarceration, expands access to opioid-overdose reversal drugs, and expands state use of prescription drug monitoring programs by physicians.
To curb diversion of painkillers to the black market, Sen. Toomey authored the bipartisan Stopping Medication Abuse and Protecting Seniors Act (S. 1913). His bill, which was recently enacted into law as part of CARA, will ensure that the small number of seniors receiving extremely high doses of addictive opioids get those painkillers only from a single provider and a single pharmacy. The legislation not only helps individuals who are battling addiction get treatment, but it also saves taxpayers nearly $150 million over the next decade by helping to reduce overprescribing and fraud.
This past summer, Sen. Toomey also introduced the Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act, which would hold China accountable for illegally shipping the powerful and deadly opioid, fentanyl, into the United States.